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The Los Angeles Times is reporting today that the LAFD has halted its twitter feed and blocked access to response time data.

This action comes the day after Judge Allan Goodman ruled in favor of Fix The City on its Hollywood Community Plan lawsuit.  First-responder response times were one of the key aspects of the lawsuit.  We can only wonder if it is mere coincidence that the LAFD has blocked access to the very data that showed markedly longer fire response times.

Fix The City’s detailed analysis on LAFD records from 2007-2011 resulted in a breaking story by KNBC news and a long-running series of in-depth stories by the Los Angeles Times on LAFD response times.

The LAFD’s action today, if allowed to stand, would deny the public the ability to independently validate critical response time metrics, including those used to develop new community plans.

Fix The City is actively reviewing the matter.

Judge Allan Goodman has ruled in favor of Fix the City’s landmark suit concerning the Hollywood Community Plan.

The lawsuit was the first of three suits filed by Los Angeles area civic organizations.  The other two were filed by the La Mirada Avenue Neighborhood Association and SaveHollywood.Org.

Fix The City’s suit sought to invalidate the Hollywood Community Plan approval based on numerous grounds including the failure to use the most recent census data and inconsistency with the City’s General Plan requirement that infrastructure be monitored and be able to support development.  In a meticulously detailed ruling, the Judge supported each of our contentions.

Fix The City filed suit on the Hollywood Community Plan as it represented a dangerous precedent for other community plan updates which are either in process or are planned, including those for the Mid-Wilshire area and West L.A.

Jim O’Sullivan, VP of Fix The City said: “Communities throughout the City know that the infrastructure has been unable to keep up with the demands placed on it.  Most importantly, our first-responders are stretched thin.  Also important is that the livability of the City is impacted by deteriorating streets, increased traffic and cuts to key departments such as Rec & Parks.  The first step in fixing the City is to have accurate data.”

Perhaps the most important aspects of today’s ruling by Judge Goodman were his findings on the General Plan and the requirement that Community Plans properly implement the infrastructure monitoring aspects of the General Plan.   He said:

“The City’s Revised Findings reveal how the Plan Update twists the monitoring requirements in Framework Policy 3.3.2 (the infrastructure monitoring policy) ….. The City’s position is that the Plan Update sufficiently addressed the infrastructure capacity of the area such that no further monitoring is required during implementation of the Plan Update. This hands-off policy is completely contrary to the Framework Element’s objective of continuous monitoring of development activity.”

As part of its General Plan, the city promised to monitor the infrastructure and to put building controls in place if any infrastructure element was threatened.   Many of the city’s community plans clearly describe the required monitoring and mitigation.  They state:

“…if this monitoring finds that population in the Plan area is occurring faster than projected; and, that infrastructure resource capacities are threatened, … and, that there is not a clear commitment to at least begin the necessary improvements within twelve months; then building controls should be put into effect, for all or portions of the [] Community, until land use designations for the Community Plan and corresponding zoning are revised to limit development.”

If even more clarity is required, the city provided it in their mitigation description for the General Plan.  They stated:

“Lastly, the policy requires that type, amount and location of development be correlated with the provision of adequate supporting infrastructure and services”

In fact, the City itself argued Fix the City’s position in the late 90’s when the General Plan was challenged in court.  The city stated:

“What became clear was that a crucial feature of dealing with growth impacts was contained in the GPF – its program for timing allowable development with available infrastructure…”

Unfortunately, the City failed to implement its own policy and the City and its residents are now facing the predictable result:  A failing infrastructure which results in a loss of services and decreased public safety.

Fix The City is represented by Beverly Palmer of Strumwasser and Woocher.

The Fix The City suit is not related to or targeted at any existing or proposed development projects, nor does it comment on any other environmental review other than that of the Hollywood Community Plan..

The decision can be found here